Davies into knock-out stages in Slovenia despite defeat in group game

Para Champ Davies Into Worlds Knock-Out Stage In Slovenia

Rob Davies insists he must improve after qualifying for the knock-out stages of the World Para Table Tennis Championships in Slovenia.

Wales’ 2016 Para champ from Rio reached the last 16 despite losing in three closely-fought sets in his second match in the group in the men’s class one to Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt.

Davies will play another Argentinian in Guillermo Bustamante Sierra on Friday.

“I just wasn’t right mentally today,” admitted the 34-year-old from Brecon who had beaten France’s Alan Papirer . “I really struggled to get into it and that was the difference in the end.

“At the moment it is a bit raw. I know I didn’t play as I can so I’ve got to look forward to the next match now. My mentality has got to be better and my return of serve has definitely got to be better and my serving. We knew it was something I had to work on coming in here so I’ve still got lots to do.”

Davies will be joined in the knock-out stages by by Aberdare’s Tom Matthews who progressed after beating Italy’s world No 6 Andrea Borgato in five sets.


Matthews had lost his first match against Hyeon Uk Kim, but progressed after after the Korean also beat Borgato.

And having been given a bye in the last 16, he will now face another Italian Federico Falco in the quarter-finals.

Matthews said: “I’m really happy but a bit shaky at the moment. “Borgato is a difficult character – he’s got a good game and he’s solid and he’s got a lot of experience on me so I’m over the moon to come through that.

“To give credit to Neil Robinson (coach) going into the fifth set he calmed me down a lot and just said ‘keep it simple, stop trying to attack everything’ and that gave me a positive attitude on the table.

“I think I can improve on being positive with my game and inflicting my game on my opponent instead of letting them dictate the rallies. I feel that I am on the level I should be but I’ve got to focus on my game and carry on going.”

But there was disappointment for the third Welshman in the class one as London 2012 bronze medallist Paul Davies bowed out in the groups.

Davies lost his opening game to the in-form Hungarian Endre Major and defeat in three close sets to Bustamante Sierra in his next match ensured he could not qualify.

The 51-year-old from Bridgend said: “I wasn’t at my best. It just didn’t click for me.

“He (Bustamante Sierra) was the better player and you can’t take that away from him. The loss I had earlier wasn’t the best either – so it’s back to the drawing board. I’ve got to work a bit harder but no excuses – they played better on the day and deserved to win.”

Davies bowed out in groups.


And in the men’s class six Swansea’s Paul Karabardak lost his second match to 19-year-old Kazuki Shichino from Japan to also fail to reach the knock-out stages which start on Friday.

“I felt that if I could go out there and play my game I’d have too much for him,” said Karabardak, “but I was too nervous. I didn’t play the way I wanted to play and I let him do what he wanted to do and that is why he won.

“It’s tough because I like to get into the tournament and get a win under my belt and get a bit of confidence but when you’ve lost the first group match it is always going to be harder going into the second match.”


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